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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 22

Verse 22. Whether Paul, or Apollos. The sense of this is clear. Whatever advantages result from the piety, self-denials, and labours of Paul, Apollos, or any other preacher of the gospel, are yours—you have the benefit of them. One is as much entitled to the benefit as another; and all partake alike in the results of their ministration. You should therefore neither range yourselves into parties with their names given to the parties, nor suppose that one has any peculiar interest in Paul, or another in Apollos. Their labours belonged to the church in general. They had no partialities—no rivalship—no desire to make parties. They were united, and desirous of promoting the welfare of the whole church of God. The doctrine is, that ministers belong to the church, and should devote themselves to its welfare; and that the church enjoys, in common, the benefits of the learning, zeal, piety, eloquence, talents, example of the ministers of God. And it may be observed, that it is no small privilege thus to be permitted to regard all the labours of the most eminent servants of God as designed for our welfare; and for the humblest saint to feel that the labours of apostles, the self- denials and sufferings, the pains and dying agonies of martyrs, have been for his advantage.

Or Cephas. Or Peter. (Joh 1:42.)

Or the world. This word is doubtless used, in its common signification, to denote the things which God has made; the universe, the things which pertain to this life. And the meaning of the apostle probably is, that all things pertaining to this world which God has made—all the events which are occurring in his providence were so far theirs, that they would contribute to their advantage and their enjoyment. This general idea may be thus expressed:

(1.) The world was made by God, their common Father, and they have an interest in it as his children, regarding it as the work of his hand, and seeing him present in all his works. Nothing contributes so much to the true enjoyment of the world—to comfort in surveying the heavens, the earth, the ocean, hills, vales, plants, flowers, streams, in partaking of the gifts of Providence, as this feeling, that all are the works of the Christian's Father, and that they may all partake of these favours as his children.

(2.) The frame of the universe is sustained and upheld for their sake. The universe is kept by God; and one design of God in keeping it is to protect, preserve, and redeem his church and people. To this end he defends it by day and night; he orders all things; he keeps it from the storm and tempest, from flood and fire, and from annihilation. The sun, and moon, and stars, the times and seasons, are all thus ordered, that his church may be guarded, and brought to heaven.

(3.) The course of providential events are ordered for their welfare also, Ro 8:28. The revolutions of kingdoms, the various persecutions and trials, even the rage and fury of wicked men, are all overruled, to the advancement of the cause of truth, and the welfare of the church.

(4.) Christians have the promise of as much of this world as shall be needful for them; and in this sense "the world" is theirs. See Mt 6:33; Mr 10:29,30; 1 Ti 4:8, "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." And such was the result of the long experience and observation of David. Ps 37:25, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." Isa 33:16.

Or life. Life is theirs, because

(1.) they enjoy life. It is real life to them, and not a vain show. They live for a real object, and not for vanity. Others live for parade and ambition—Christians live for the great purposes of life; and life to them has reality, as being a state preparatory to another and a higher world. Their life is not an endless circle of unmeaning ceremonies— of false and hollow pretensions to friendship—of a vain pursuit of happiness, which is never found; but is passed in a manner that is rational, and sober, and that truly deserves to be called life.

(2.) The various events and occurrences of life shall all tend to promote their welfare, and advance their salvation.

Death. They have an interest, a property even in death, usually regarded as a calamity and a curse. But it is theirs,

(1.) because they shall have peace and support in the dying hour.

(2.) Because it has no terrors for them. It shall take away nothing which they are not willing to resign.

(3.) Because it is the avenue which leads to their rest; and it is theirs just in the same sense in which we say that "this is our road" when we have been long absent, and are inquiring the way to our homes.

(4.) Because they shall triumph over it. It is subdued by their Captain, and the grave has been subjected to a triumph by his rising from its chills and darkness.

(5.) Because death is the means—the occasion of introducing them to their rest. It is the advantageous circumstance in their history, by which they are removed from a world of ills, and translated to a world of glory. It is to them a source of inexpressible advantage, as it translates them to a world of light and eternal felicity; and it may truly be called theirs.

Or things present, or things to come. Events which are now happening, and all that can possibly occur to us. See Barnes "Ro 8:38".

All the calamities, trials, persecutions—all the prosperity, advantages, privileges of the present time, and all that shall yet take place, shall tend to promote our welfare, and advance the interests of our souls, and promote our salvation.

All are your's. All shall tend to promote your comfort and salvation.

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